Yin and Yang of Wind in the South Australian region of the National Electricity Market


Over the past couple weeks (partly in relation to this prior article on WattClarity®) I fielded a number of questions offline, relating to wind farm production in South Australia (which has been, for several reasons) a very topical point of conversation in recent times.

Whilst we have previously provided several animations online here with respect to market events using our ez2view higher-end dashboard (these animations several years old so looking quite dated now compared to the current version), that software is definitely designed for those who are very involved in the NEM.  Hence, as a result the animations are very detailed (hence for narrower consumption).

To illustrate the yin and yang of wind over a 4-day period last weekend for broader consumption, we changed to using our NEM-Watch entry-level dashboard which, despite being 15 years old now, is still a very popular tool for new entrants, market spectators, commentators and other stakeholders.  Especially with the inclusion of a live feed of the APVI’s estimates for small-scale solar production in each region, it does provide a clear, high-level overview of what’s going on in real-time.

We recorded this animation for other purposes, based on conversations with particular people, but hope you’ll also find it of value here on WattClarity:

Perhaps this might help to make more tangible the limitations of a (simplistic?) single-point-in-time view of the on (spot) price-suppressing effect of intermittent supply, now popularised as “the Merit Order Effect”.

This animation is provided not because we’re particularly pro-wind (or anti-wind), as noted before, but rather because we believe it will help to raise the general level of awareness about the complexities inherent within the underlying electricity supply system, and hence the market constructed on top of it.

In preparing this information, we switched a few options within NEM-Watch to make it clearer for general consumption in the animation (we turned to static arrows, and made the number sign relative to the arrow – i.e. changing from AEMO standards).  For industry insiders, please keep these in mind when viewing.


Next week I really have to get started on that analysis I promised to do for the upcoming All Energy conference in Melbourne (less than 4 weeks away now).  As noted before, I promised to do some thinking about what the NEM might look like in the future with higher penetrations of intermittent generation – and particularly what that might mean for Demand Response.

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of the company back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

1 Comment on "Yin and Yang of Wind in the South Australian region of the National Electricity Market"

  1. My understanding was the wind bids at the bottom of the stack (essentially -$1000/MWh) due to it being non-despatchable as per market design. That is to say that wind is a price taker, not a price maker. Its low operating costs have little to do with its position in the merit order for generation in the setting of the price in the market.

    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

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